Verizon has announced their latest plans to combat the looming threat of streaming video services like Hulu Plus on the iPad and other mobile devices. In early 2011, subscribers to Verizon’s FIOS TV cable service will be able to download an app for the iPad that lets them watch live TV without the need for a cable box.
Shaygan Kheradpir, CIO at Verizon, has said that their company is trying to get approval from all of their content partners to stream their channels on the service before the app launches. Time Warner is already on board, and Kheradpir demoed the service by showing a live CNN report broadcasting smoothly on an iPad.
Unfortunately, you can’t watch live TV just anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection. In order for Verizon’s authentication process to work correctly, the user needs to be using the app in the house where they bought the FIOS TV service. If users want to use their iPad as a spare TV, this works out. But as the tablet’s real strength is in its mobility, this restriction might sour some on the idea.
Verizon also revealed their new platform for Video On Demand, which makes it far easier to share VOD content across multiple devices. Once a user buys a video or film through a FIOS set-top box, they can also download and watch it on up to 5 other devices, including PCs and smartphones. The new VOD application will be released on the Droid X, the Droid 2, the Blackberry Storm, and Windows Mobile 6.5 phones later this year, with support for other devices on the way.
Verizon’s new plans for the mobile space certainly sound promising, though we’d be more excited if they were more accessible. FiOS availability is growing, but no where near ubiquitous. Still, we’re interested to see how the quality and ease of use for the streaming and on demand services measures up to the competition.